Mahalaya Amavasya – Importance and relevance

Amavasya is the special when it comes to worshiping your forefathers. Mahalaya Amavasya is the king of Amavasya. In this article I have tried to explain its significance and relevance to certain defects in a horoscope.


Mahalaya Amavasya – October 4th, 2013

If you do not have the time to read the entire article you can see the following YouTube video which is titled Mahalaya Amavasya. It is a 10 minute video. Also watch Part 2 of the video without fail as the exact procedure is given in it.

Who should do the Mahalaya Amavasya Ritual?

  • All the people who wish to express their gratitude for having been born in this world should do it.

  • Those who have pitrudosha in their horoscope must surely do this without fail if they are interested in reducing or getting rid of the pitrudosha.

  • Those who have putradosha in their horoscope should surely do this without fail if they are interested in reducing or getting rid of the pitrudosha.

  • Those who have unending problems in life, one problem replaces the other.

  • Those who have unending problems with loans (Debts)

  • Those who have unending problems with disease and ailments.

Pitru Paksha – Meaning

Pitru Paksha is the Sanskrit word that literally means the “fortnight of the ancestors”. Pitru = ancestors and Paksha = Fortnight. Pitru Paksha is therefore a 15 lunar day period during which the Hindus pay homage to their ancestors mainly through food offerings.

This period begins with the full moon day (Poornima) that occurs immediately after the Ganesh Chaturthi festival and ending with the new moon day (Amavasys) known as Sarvapitri Amavasya or Mahalaya Amavasya.

During the year 2013, Pitru Paksha starts on September-20 and ends on October-4

The worship of our ancestors consists of:

1. Tharpanam i.e., offering food to the departed souls (ancestors)

2. Annadhaanam i.e., feeding the poor.

The Tharpanam is done at sunrise on all 15 days of the ancestor fortnight from the first day onward. Along with this one must also give food, clothes, footwear, cooking utensils to poor people (every day of this 15 day period) – at least one packet of food to some poor person or a pilgrim. Without such offerings the worship of ancestors is incomplete.

Karunya Tarpanam during the Pitru Paksha

During these 15 days of the Mahalaya Paksha, but especially on the Mahalaya Amavasya day, offer tharpanam pooja not just to your ancestors, but also to plants, trees, animals, birds, insects and all living things that have been sacrificed for your sake. This is called karunya tharpanam as an act of gratitude to these beings.

Feeding animals, birds, insects and other creatures is a daily duty, but it is particularly important during the ancestor fortnight. Feeding the cows and crows is a must. Visit at least one of the many Pitru Mukti (ancestor salvation) places like Kasi, Rameswaram, Gaya, Prayag (Allahabad), Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, Mantralayam, SriSailam, Papanasam, Thiruvaiyaru etc.

How to find the best Shraadh time?

Shraadh is to be done in Aparaanha kaal. Other times are not that good for Shraadh. Saayankaal and onwards is to be rejected. Divide the length of day into 5 equal parts. The 4th part is the best period for Shraadh ritual. Here we have assumed sunrise is at 6 a.m. and sunset is at 6 p.m.):

1. Praatha – 06:00 to 08:24 2. Sanghava – 08:25 to 10:48

3. Maadhyaanha – 10:49 to 13:12 4. Aparaanha – 13:13 to 15:36

5. Saayankaal – 15:37 to 18:00

The Annual 15 Moons of Pitru Paksha.

The Pitru Paksha ritual spans from the 1st Moon (immediately after Poornima) until the Amavasya and each day is ruled by a specific Tithi of the Moon (Lunar days). The benefits of doing tarpanam on the specific moon days are given in the in the chart below:

Lunar days or Tithi Benefits of Specific Lunar days Tarpanam

01. Prathamai Thithi Gives wealth

02. Dvithiyai Thithi Grants the continuation of lineage

03. Thrithiyai Thithi Gives business prosperity

04. Chathurthi Thithi Gives ability to overpower enemies

05. Panchami Thithi Grants prosperity

06. Sashti Thithi Grants good reputation

07. Sapthami Thithi Secures inner strength and spirituality

08. Ashtami Thithi Blesses with intelligence

09. Navami Thithi Receive support from women folk

10. Dasami Thithi Grants success in your profession

11. Ekadasi Thithi Grants prosperity and intelligence to your children

12. Dwadasi Thithi For continuation of lineage and success through education

13.Trayodasi Thithi Buy own vehicles

14. Chathurdasi Thithi Peace and longevity

15. Amavasya Thithi

Sarvapitri Amavasya If you miss any of the above days, this Amavasya is mandatoryand your last chance this year. This is also an essential day for doing Tarpanam for those who died due to weapons or accidents. During this day, the known and unknown souls that have departed during the last 30 years are respected like God.

Sage Agastya’s Treatise on Pitru – Paksha Rituals (Mahalaaya Shraadh)

Sage Agastya says that not only the sons but everyone must pay respects to their ancestors. The hindus believe that 15 days in a year our ancestors visit us every day from sunrise to sunset in hope of receiving offerings from us. Offerings of water & sesame seeds, quenches their hunger & thirst and in return for this, they shower multitude blessings on us. Also the doors of Vishnu-Lok remain open for all Pitrus for 15 days in a year during Pitru-Paksh.

It is said that the Pitrus can enter Vishnu-Lok either based on their individual good karma or from a request by their descendants. By doing the Shraadh ritual the descendants send a request to allow their ancestors to enter Vishnu-Lok. In case our ancestors have already attained Vishu-Lok owing to their own good karma then our prayers for them will take them to higher realms. It is precisely for this reason that our ancestors line up in hope & expectation during the 15 day phase of Pitru-Paksh.

So if you deem ancestors to be unimportant and go about your daily jobs unconcerned, they leave in disappointment & dejection after waiting for you for 15days. This dejection & disappointment of ancestors translates into “curses” which manifests as obstacles & hurdles in daily life leading to suffering. On the other hand if you choose to welcome, honor & bid them farewell with your offerings then it translates into “blessings”. “Ancestors’ blessings” is to be thought as help & luck that you receive everyday. .

How to go about doing the Pitru Paksh Ritual?

There are 2 ways to do it. One is that you can request a purohit to help you out. Or you may choose to do it by yourself. In case you want to do it by yoursefl find a quiet corner of a room or balcony where you can sit down facing East. You will need:

1 A dharba grass mat to sit on

2 Water in a metal bowl

3 A small bowl of black sesame seeds (til) for men and white for women.

4 A plate into which you can release water

5 The list of mantras that is recommended by Sage Agastya. They are: 1.Pitru-Gayatri, 2.Avaahanam Mantra, 3.Pitru-Mantra and 4.Gayatri-Mantra.

Pitru Gayatri Mantra

Pitru Gayatri Mantra is chanted 11 times as an act of invitation of your Pitrus in the spirit world, so that their attention turns towards you.You may not know who your Pitrus (ancestors) are but when you begin to chant the Pitru-Gayatri mantra you will start feeling the vibrations.

You should pray thus. “All ancestors from my father’s side, all ancestors from my mother’s side, all ancestors from the side of my spouse, all ancestors known and unknown to me, all Pitrus who may have no descendants, all Pitrus whose descendants may have forgotten them, all friends who have passed into the spirit world, the souls of all animals that gave up their bodies feeding me & my family, directly or indirectly, may you all please turn your kind attention towards me”.

Now chant the Pitru-Gayatri mantra (11 times in succession):-

Pitru Gayatri: “Om Pitru Ganaaya Vidmahe Jagat Dhaariney Dheemahi Thanno Pitro Prachodayaat.”

By the time Pitru-Gayatri is uttered, it is believed that you have the attention of your Pitrus. So you may now request them to accept your offering of black sesame seeds & water. This request is made by chanting the Avaahanam Mantra (3 times in succession):-

Avaahanam Mantra:

Avaahanam Mantra: “Om Aagachhantu Me Pitru Emam Grihanantu Jalaanjalim.”

The meaning of the above mantra is “I wholeheartedly invite you into my home to accept my offering of sesame seeds & water to quench your hunger & thirst”. Then you chant the Pitru-Mantra (3 times in succession).

Pitru Mantra: “Om Sarva Pitru Devaaya Namaha… Triptayaamidam Tilodaham – Va – Jalaanjalim… Tasmai Swadhaa Namaha… Tasmai Swadhaa Namaha… Tasmai Swadhaa Namaha… Tasmai Swadhaa Namaha…”

Take black sesame seeds in yout right hand. While chanting Pitru Mantra, pour water over the sesame seeds into the plate. Water has to flow in between your thumb & index finger and not from the front of your palm flowing over other fingers. The water that will flow between thumb & index finger will flow towards South direction as you are facing East. The direction of Pitrus is South. As we have to sit facing the east this is the best way to do it.

If you have anything else to tell your Pitrus you may do so now. Finally you may request them to proceed to Vishnu-Lok, the gates of which you have desired open by your prayers and good wishes. In the end you may chant the Gayatri Mantra (11 times in succession) during which time your Pitrus will depart happily.

Gayatri Mantra : “Om Bhur Bhavah Swaahaa Tat Savitru Varenyam Bhargo Devasya Deemahi, Dheeyo Yonahah Prachodayaat”.

In the end you will experience an amazing peace and happiness for having completed one of your main duties in life.

It is said that the departed souls request Lord Maha Vishnu to grant them permission to visit their descendants on earth. Vishnu allows them to be with them in His month of Purattasi during the 15 long days of the Mahalaya paksha.


Comments RSS
  1. abhi

    Nice, Thanks

  2. R Kumar

    Dear Sir,
    I am a great fan of your articles. I want to earnestly request you to publish some books on astrology, hindu customs and other related topics because you write in such a simple language which every common man can understand. Thank you so much.

    Sir I also want to know about Guru Chandala yoga and its effects on different houses. It will be very nice of you if you could explain it to us.

    Thanking you once again..

    • E K Dhilip Kumar

      I will do that when I find the time. I am now doing the balancing act, many clients these days, in the gaps I do the writing and youtube videos…..

  3. M

    Dhilip Sir, is the best astrologer,good and genuine advice.Thnaks

    • E K Dhilip Kumar

      Thank you so much. Astrology is my passion and guiding people is natural with me. I have done a video on youtube just now on SHADBALA. Please see it and let me know your views. Type SHADBALA Dhilip on YOUTUBE

  4. Rency

    Very simple writing and cute and appropriate pictures. Keep up the good job!!!

  5. Swami

    This is such a wonderful article. i always looking to perform this act on my own since i have pitru dosha in my horoscope but don’t know the right way of doing the same. now got the right procedure to perform and at the right time.thanks from the bottom of my heart and may god bless u with all success and strength to keep up the good work for the society.

    • M

      Sir,I checked the SHADBLA strengths in my computer Horoscope.How to interpret it,means the the effect in Dasha period or something else.

  6. kanchan

    how to do pitru paksha on mahalaya amavasya if not residing in India .
    Also how to get reading done of rmy chart.
    Please guide.

  7. KP

    Is it possible to upload the Mantra Audio? That will help people like me to learn and pronunce the sound well. Thanks

  8. Harsha

    Dear Sir- Really nice write up.

    rquest if u can tell if guru chandal yog exist only in horscope or also during dasa(eg rahu maha dasa and guru antar dasa) .thanks

  9. navaneethakrishnan

    My Pranams, wanted to check if the Pitru Paksha ritual is restricted only to these 15 days? what is that we need to do to seek the blessings of our ancestors through out the year? is there anything I can do other than the amavasya tarpanam?

  10. navaneethakrishnan

    My pranams, also, there has been a continuos doubt on the sankalpam while doing the tarpanam. If the names of the grandfather, great grandfather etc are not precisely available is there a standard sankalpam in the protocol to invite them? Any guidelines would help. Also, my Father’s mother is still alive (99 years old!), so wanted to re-check how this will fit into the sankalpam.

  11. Kartikeya,son of lakshmi,hyderabad

    a big fan of you sir. pls let me know if women can perform the pitru tarpanam

  12. pushpak bhangale

    i was born on sarvapitri amavasya day, my birth day is 10th october 1988, birth time 4:30 pm, location ambernath pin 421501.

    i want to ask is it good to be born on sarvapitri amavasya, i am having problems in getting married and having relationship.

    please help me in knowing when will i get married and how would be my spouse.

  13. kamalakanna

    dear sir this article will be useful; for all the youths to follow .it is very useful and I wish all to follow

  14. Rajan Ramakrishna

    Timely and succinctly presented information to help those sincerely seeking guidance in the matter of tarpanam offering. Kindly enlighten about sankalpam,if any flower to be used for the avahanam mantra, inclusion of ancestors names in the pitru mantra. Also let me know how Karunya tarpanam is performed.

  15. Jayashree Murali

    can females do this too? I want to do tharpanam for my grandparents and also for my maternal uncle who passed away at an early age.

    I am overseas, and my parents back in India will already be doing it for them during this Mahalaya amavasaya. How can I play a part in this?

    • E K Dhilip Kumar

      Every one should do. Every one should express gratitude. Is gratitude and saying thanks only for men? Is it not for women. Then how come women need not thank their pitrus? Sage Agastya says that everyone should do it.

  16. Sridhar Gopalakrishnan

    Most of the articles of yours which I read are wonderful, very informative to a common man. Keep up the good job.

    We are family of 9. But none of my brothers believe in this. I am 7th in the family. During the last day I visit a temple and offer raw banana, rice, dal, jaggery and pay Rs 51/- to poojari and recite name of every soul who departed us and pray to god. Do you feel it is fine.

    Secondly I was born at bangalore at 1.30pm on 11/1/62. I was doing well in life. suddenly I am without any job and in lot of debts. When will I get a job and leave a peaceful life again. I am very religious. What is in store for me. Kindly advice.

    I have never worked in blog and not able to sent you my request. So please message me.

  17. Ranganath

    what to if a person skipped pitru tarpan on 15 days as well as on amavasya day what he can do.

    • E K Dhilip Kumar

      Please thank the Pitrus everyday for a long time. You will see a lot of positive change in your life.


    Hi Dhilip
    Thank you for your valuable informations & guidance here.
    It has made simple to do it. Yes agree with you all the days we should gratitude to our ancestors.

  19. shivani mahendra

    Sir can the ladies are also allowed to perform tharpanam for their father on mahalaya amavasya?

  20. shivani mahendra

    Sir the ladies are also allowed to perform tharpanam for their father on mahalaya amavasya?

    • E K Dhilip Kumar

      Sage Agasthya has said that everyone born should do the Pitru Tharpanam which is basically thanking those who gave you your physical body and a chance to live once again. Actually you should also thank the forefathers of your past life.

  21. sheela ketkar

    sage agasthya said that not oniy son but every one must pay respect to their ancestors this stetment shows that every one can do pitru tarpan good inrormation

  22. Thamarai

    Very useful , thanks for sharing

  23. shamlatha

    Ur article is very good..i would also like that u make a video of it and do the actual procedure with mantras…so we get the actual pronounciation and we get confidence that we are doing the right thing…
    Thanks and regard

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